Southwest Airlines Won’t Serve Alcohol Due To Air Rage Incidents

Southwest Airlines Won’t Serve Alcohol Due To Air Rage Incidents

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Southwest Airlines has decided not to serve alcohol on flights this summer, because the airline doesn’t think passengers are capable of behaving.

Southwest backtracks on service resumptions

Airlines cut a majority of inflight service at the start of the pandemic, though we’ve seen airlines slowly add back service, as the situation becomes more under control thanks to widespread vaccination.

Last week Southwest announced that it would resume selling alcohol on flights as of this summer, as the company looked to restore “more elements of Southwest hospitality that customers know and love.”

Well, not so fast, apparently. Southwest is indefinitely postponing the sale of alcohol inflight. Southwest’s head of inflight operations, Sonya Lacore, explains that “based on the rise in passenger disruptions in flight,” she has “made the decision to re-evaluate the restart of alcohol service on board.”

This follows a Southwest flight attendant recently being physically assaulted by a passenger, even knocking out two of her teeth. The passenger had repeatedly ignored instructions about wearing seatbelts, putting tray tables upright, etc.

Is alcohol the problem?

Some of the passenger behavior we’ve seen in recent months has been absolutely awful. The latest incident we’ve seen of a Southwest flight attendant being assaulted disgusts me. We’ve seen a rise in air rage incidents, and I commend the FAA for cracking down on this, and taking a zero-tolerance approach.

That being said, I’m not sure alcohol is the problem here, or even that alcohol would make things worse? Let’s keep in mind that a vast majority of the incidents we’ve seen during the pandemic don’t involve alcohol, since they’ve happened while airlines have offered almost no service. Heck, the only “under the influence” story I’ve seen recently is about a guy who brought his own cocaine onto a flight.

Many people are on edge and stressed when they get on a plane nowadays, and just have a bad attitude. It has been a tough year. Maybe a drink will help some people calm their nerves and not act like morons?

With that in mind:

  • While air rage incidents have increased, we’re talking about a tiny percentage of passengers overall
  • I think restoring somewhat of a sense of normality inflight could cause these incidents to decrease, rather than increase
  • Of course that won’t be the case across the board, but I don’t think offering to sell each passenger a single drink will have catastrophic implications

Bottom line

Southwest Airlines was supposed to resume inflight alcohol sales as of June, but the airline has backtracked. This is due to a rise in air rage incidents, including a Southwest flight attendant being physically assaulted last week.

While I see where Southwest is coming from, this is a case where I’m not sure alcohol is the problem? Virtually all of the air rage incidents we’ve seen have occurred without airlines serving alcohol, and that didn’t seem to do the trick.

What do you make of Southwest continuing to suspend its alcohol service?

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  1. Margaux S Milchen

    I have a little fear of the turbulence up in the air. As soon as they get ready to serve i'm always very relieved because I have problems flying so I have two or three cocktails and I'm chill the rest of the flight.
    Can I bring my own mini bottles on board? Or bring a pre-mixed drink from the restaurant before i board?

  2. Kyle

    I find that imposing restrictions on selling alcohol onboard is much like the same problem the US faced during prohibition with widespread underground drinking and other associated crimes. Because of this, passengers are likely to drink more before a flight or bring their own alcohol on board based on what we've learned from past attempts at eliminating alcohol. I think SWA and AA allow but limit the amount of alcohol sales on board to one...

    I find that imposing restrictions on selling alcohol onboard is much like the same problem the US faced during prohibition with widespread underground drinking and other associated crimes. Because of this, passengers are likely to drink more before a flight or bring their own alcohol on board based on what we've learned from past attempts at eliminating alcohol. I think SWA and AA allow but limit the amount of alcohol sales on board to one drink per passenger per certain time period, it would alleviate a lot of stress.

    From what we are seeing with other airlines resuming service in economy we've seen no higher amounts of air rage incidents on those flights based on my observations (I would be interested to see actual data behind this as I think my hypothesis would be supported). For the record- drunk and or unruly passengers are a problem and should not be flying; FAs and the public should not have to deal with them either.

  3. Monte B

    Just a couple of objective and genuine questions from a position of humility . Was the lady who punched the poor Flight Attendant actually drinking? If alcohol service has been suspended - she would have had to been drinking before boarding the plane. Right? I have to fly for work and have for over 2 decades. The business "road warrior" doesn't seem to be the problem. We don't drag our bags and/or slam them into...

    Just a couple of objective and genuine questions from a position of humility . Was the lady who punched the poor Flight Attendant actually drinking? If alcohol service has been suspended - she would have had to been drinking before boarding the plane. Right? I have to fly for work and have for over 2 decades. The business "road warrior" doesn't seem to be the problem. We don't drag our bags and/or slam them into already seated passengers, we are "good flyer citizens" and I was on the 22 AA planes in the air on 9/11. We seem to always punish the good people for the actions of the bad people. no? Why our car and health insurance is so high? Fraud and Criminals ? It is sad that we sight alcohol service as the "root cause". Isn't it because - violence has escalated everywhere? (not just the airlines) they have Pandemic Fatigue? Mask Rules that increase aggravation? and the huge decrease in Frequent Travelers? (increase in inexperienced flyers) ? Again - its very sad some crazy lady assaulted a flight attendant and hurt her badly. Plus there are insane and potentially completely ignorant and/or stupid people on the earth. So unless we make stupidity illegal ...why do the mildly intelligent people always have to lose the few small luxuries they get if they have to travel frequently? Just food for thought. But what do I know ?

  4. PattyC Murphy

    I support the decision, to with hold the sale of alcohol, in flight. I honestly support administration of breathalyzers, to determine who is intoxicated and, therefore will not be allowed to board the plane. Anything to end the horrible behavior, where flight attendants and other passengers have been assaulted.

  5. Daniel D

    They should offer marijuana instead. That'll make people chill out more!

  6. Butter muh bread

    Alcohol never helps relax the situation. Southwest knows what they are doing... this is one the dumber articles I've read on here.

  7. Kimberly

    Alcohol is not that important to me. I go months at a time without it and almost the ONLY time I have a drink is when I'm on a Southwest Airlines plane and using the free drink ticket they've sent me. The charm of it for me is that the free drink ticket is a "special" recognition for my being a devoted Southwest Airlines customer...I would feel the same way if it were a special...

    Alcohol is not that important to me. I go months at a time without it and almost the ONLY time I have a drink is when I'm on a Southwest Airlines plane and using the free drink ticket they've sent me. The charm of it for me is that the free drink ticket is a "special" recognition for my being a devoted Southwest Airlines customer...I would feel the same way if it were a special food item rather than a special drink item...it's the "special" and not the alcohol per se that adds to my enjoyment of the flight. I'm traveling next month for the first time since the start of the pandemic and I was looking forward to that little special something, having been told my 2020 drink ticket would still be honored in 2021...but now I guess I might as well just throw that drink ticket away. Nothing special anymore.

  8. Kerry

    @Chris, I respect your point, an aircraft is not meant to be a bar. Having said that, I respect Ben’s point here too. As we all try to return to normality, I am not sure further restrictions will help to ‘de-stress’ people, and knowing they won’t be able to have a drink in flight will surely provoke some people into drinking much more in the terminal before they board.

    I also wonder if there are...

    @Chris, I respect your point, an aircraft is not meant to be a bar. Having said that, I respect Ben’s point here too. As we all try to return to normality, I am not sure further restrictions will help to ‘de-stress’ people, and knowing they won’t be able to have a drink in flight will surely provoke some people into drinking much more in the terminal before they board.

    I also wonder if there are cultural issues at play in the States, around drinking. I fly BA for example very frequently (at least as much as possible since Covid) and they always pour very generously on board in my experience. I have personally never witnessed a serious problem in flight because of that.

  9. Don

    The problem is not on-board sale of alcohol but on-board and pre-board consumption. Also, the known term pre-gamming is relevant here for those who are nervous flyers consumption (self-medicating) can start before leaving their residence to travel to the airport.

  10. Robert Fahr

    It seems extreme to bar alcohol for all SWA (and now AA) customers because of this incident. Airport bars and restaurants have been super packed based on my recent observations. Would not a drink per flight hour or two drink maximum per domestic flight be much more common sense?

  11. NYGuy24

    People are stressed out. I want alcohol to come back as soon as possible on the flights, but right now too many people are showing a total lack of control even when they are sober. Once people are back into their routine of normal life around people I suspect a lot of these issues will calm down.

  12. Shell

    I feel these incidents are angry people with nothing to do with alcohol. Many people have had a difficult year which gives them no excuse but I see this everywhere not just on planes. I am a nurse and see many angry people If I am going on vacation which is difficult for me to get. I will get a glass of wine on a plane . Most people are respectable adults. But you will...

    I feel these incidents are angry people with nothing to do with alcohol. Many people have had a difficult year which gives them no excuse but I see this everywhere not just on planes. I am a nurse and see many angry people If I am going on vacation which is difficult for me to get. I will get a glass of wine on a plane . Most people are respectable adults. But you will find this kind of people everywhere I will always choose if I am spending my money to fly to be on a airline who serves food and alcohol. We love Southwest and have always flown with them but we will choose other airlines if they choose not to resume the service. I travel every few weeks for work also and already have started traveling with other airlines because of the service . I love to fly and I really feel people will
    Get it together as more snd more opens u not further shut downs and decrease in normalcy

  13. Grace

    Here's the thing, alcohol is an unpredictable factor and will only increase the likelihood that more incidents occur. If people are feeling entitled enough to punch flight attendants in the face while stone cold sober, I would also be reluctant to add an intoxicant into an already fraught situation. I have been a waitress and bartender, and literally nothing gets calmer with alcohol involved.

  14. panda

    The consequences need to be tougher. Many air-ragers can afford fines. Place them on the no-fly list for 3 years.

  15. magice

    There are a few other factors to consider.

    First, number of reported incidents probably is lower than number of minor disruptions. Think loud voices and unpleasantry. If there are multiple reported incidents, that means the environment must have been on edge.

    To illustrate above point, there is a BA review on The Point Guy where 2 business class passengers causing ruckus after drinking. They calmed down and apologized, so not really worst of things, but...

    There are a few other factors to consider.

    First, number of reported incidents probably is lower than number of minor disruptions. Think loud voices and unpleasantry. If there are multiple reported incidents, that means the environment must have been on edge.

    To illustrate above point, there is a BA review on The Point Guy where 2 business class passengers causing ruckus after drinking. They calmed down and apologized, so not really worst of things, but still. I would imagine there are other "incidents."

    Third, risk calculation in flight is different from on the ground. Remember, hundreds of people are locked together for hours miles above the ground. I can understand airlines being risk adverse.

    Fourth, it's easier for everyone, including any person under influence from the ground, to have all alcohol removed. Otherwise, FA will have to act as bouncers as well.

    Fifth, it's possible to have a resembling of normality without alcohol, especially in USA. Restaurants in USA are much more likely to be dry than elsewhere. I personally think some meal service would already go a long way to normality.

    Finally, revenge traveling is bringing out all kinds of people under stress from the pandemic. I personally am much more on edge these days than normal. Presence of alcohol in this mix is riskier than 2019.

  16. Miamigeorge

    The bigger problem is airport bars where people drink themselves silly. You can’t expect gate agents to police the drunks. Airport bars should have a 3 drink maximum. Shamefully this is what society has devolved to.

  17. Ron

    Any air rage incidents that causes an assault on FAs and passengers should automatically result in heavy fines and banned from flying any airlines for 20 years. If you get triggered by wearing a mask and can’t act like an adult, don’t travel by air.

  18. Jay

    Pilots, arguably the most important people on any flight, aren’t required to wear masks. Why is that? They’re not important? But the passengers are? https://www.google.com/amp/s/thepointsguy.com/news/why-pilots-dont-wear-masks-flying/amp/

    What happened to the “commercial jets have the best air filtration systems” argument, is that no longer the case?

    The FAA can cut these incidents in half tomorrow by following the CDCs lead and ditching the BS mask mandate. Half of this is on the FAA. But they can’t be...

    Pilots, arguably the most important people on any flight, aren’t required to wear masks. Why is that? They’re not important? But the passengers are? https://www.google.com/amp/s/thepointsguy.com/news/why-pilots-dont-wear-masks-flying/amp/

    What happened to the “commercial jets have the best air filtration systems” argument, is that no longer the case?

    The FAA can cut these incidents in half tomorrow by following the CDCs lead and ditching the BS mask mandate. Half of this is on the FAA. But they can’t be bothered with this. They’re busy being the most inefficient government entity that the US has ever seen. Their employees have no incentive to help anyone, ever. They’re part-time workers collecting full time wages.

  19. Eric Kramer

    I think Southwest needed to do something to show support for their employees. I also think this will make the bars in the terminal spot more money. How will the lines work out?

  20. Charlie

    I'm sorry to hear of this terrible conduct by a passenger. On the other hand, I sure enjoy having a glass of wine on a plane...it's comforting and helps the time go by for me. I'm in favor of allowing a glass of wine.

  21. Bill

    "Raise prices so these low-lifes have to take the bus." I don't think the socio-economic status of people produces this behavior. I think its the airlines cramming people into metal tubes and treating passengers like cattle. If people were given a bit more space and comfort and treated more like human beings it would lower the stress level of travel, so in that sense raising the prices (if airlines also reduced passenger loads) could make a difference.

  22. Bill

    "The solution is simple. Require proof of vaccination to fly and drop the mask mandate." This seems reasonable. We know many of these problems revolve around people refusing to wear a mask. I believe the stats are 1900 of the flight incidents this year revolved around mask issues. Chances are the people who are going to be belligerent about mask use are those who are unvaccinated. So limit flights to vaccinated people and people won't...

    "The solution is simple. Require proof of vaccination to fly and drop the mask mandate." This seems reasonable. We know many of these problems revolve around people refusing to wear a mask. I believe the stats are 1900 of the flight incidents this year revolved around mask issues. Chances are the people who are going to be belligerent about mask use are those who are unvaccinated. So limit flights to vaccinated people and people won't have to wear masks and it will keep the anti-vaxxers off the plane. Bet you anything the number of incidents drops dramatically when you remove that population of people from planes.

    1. John S

      Amen, and Hallelujah. Problem solved.

  23. Bill

    " it is easy enough to get six or eight drinks on a three hour flight, " Maybe you should get some help if you need six to eight drinks on a three hour flight. Like seriously you have a problem if you think that type of behavior is remotely appropriate on a plane, especially when you consider that parts of those three hours are takeoff and landing when there is no service.

  24. John Davis

    I drink alcohol. It hasn’t turn me into a ranging lunatic.

    1. John S

      I do too and if anything, it helps to mellow me out when enduring the indignities of commercial air travel in the US so common today.

  25. S.B.

    I completely agree, and thank you for saying this. As a phobic flier, it's extremely hard for me to get on a plane at all. I do it anyways but normally with a drink or two. Given this decision, I will not fly with Southwest until they resume alcohol service. I know so many people who are in the same situation as me: the reason people drink when they fly isn't because airplanes are great...

    I completely agree, and thank you for saying this. As a phobic flier, it's extremely hard for me to get on a plane at all. I do it anyways but normally with a drink or two. Given this decision, I will not fly with Southwest until they resume alcohol service. I know so many people who are in the same situation as me: the reason people drink when they fly isn't because airplanes are great party spots. It is generally because a certain % of the population is legitimately scared of flying, and literally nothing helps quite as well, quickly, and safely as a responsible drink on board. Turbulence, likewise. The travel industry actually may not realize how many people will not fly unless they know they can have a drink due to flying phobia, which is incredibly common, and for some, it's not fear of planes but some related condition, like fear of heights, claustrophobia, and so on.

    And if it alcohol-induced flight rage really a problem, we wouldn't see liquor served in first class but not in economy on so many airlines -- that suggests only less well-off people suffer "air rage" and is really ugly in its Classism.

    Plus, they would have stopped years ago. So I just am not buying this story. At all.

  26. Josh

    Here's my take on this.... I do not think alcohol is the main problem here but the fact that these airline companies keep trying to pack more and more people into already cramped aircraft space! You never heard of problems back in the 1980's and that was because airlines actually cared about their customers back then, it was a different era... they offered their customers free baggage, free meals and non alcoholic drinks and bigger...

    Here's my take on this.... I do not think alcohol is the main problem here but the fact that these airline companies keep trying to pack more and more people into already cramped aircraft space! You never heard of problems back in the 1980's and that was because airlines actually cared about their customers back then, it was a different era... they offered their customers free baggage, free meals and non alcoholic drinks and bigger seats.

    Maybe the airlines need to go back to these models? Maybe charge a bit more for this but the space limitations are making people go crazy in my opinion!

  27. Kevin

    Classic American behaviour

    Who is shocked at this point lol

  28. Jimmy Ellison

    Letting those already floating down the walkway on isn't helping any either... As a basement flier of all airlines I have noticed that since the attendants have been given a green light to boot with a whim while 10 to 15 passengers are telling a different story there has become an anxiety issue with a boiling point... I do agree both sides need to chill out and just get on with it all... However when...

    Letting those already floating down the walkway on isn't helping any either... As a basement flier of all airlines I have noticed that since the attendants have been given a green light to boot with a whim while 10 to 15 passengers are telling a different story there has become an anxiety issue with a boiling point... I do agree both sides need to chill out and just get on with it all... However when you know the lie is there anger is bound to arise and it's head once against each other... I will say I am never letting my under 18 year old grandchildren fly anything else but 1st class... just to uncertain who is next to them...

  29. plasti

    Yeah. These are the same people who I had in my classroom as a middle school teacher 15 years ago when the parents said, "not my child, (s)he would never do that." We're experiencing a lifetime of permissive behavior and privileged self-centeredness meeting a world where norms and regulations must be followed AND airlines increasingly treat people like cattle instead of customers. This is the result.

  30. CHRIS

    Kent,
    Its got to do with the lack of consequences for criminal behavior both on the ground and in the air. No more police, no more jails, no more mean words, no more working a job, free money for all .....its goes on and on.

  31. KC

    Retired 30 Year Flight Attendant here.
    Times are really different now. When I first started flying in "79", never had a problem with a Passenger.
    Now, the only conclusion I can come up with is that:
    Flying in an Airplane nowadays is just a Greyhound Bus that stopped at the Sleaziest station to pick up degenerates.
    I guess I'm trying to say that:
    1- I retired the Right Time
    2- Most People just SUCK.
    BUH-BYE

    1. Happy Flyer

      Back when you started, there wasn't many, if any, LCCs or ULCCs. As a retired federal law enforcement officer, I have flown on many flights, armed, and really only started to see most of any issue on a LCC or ULCC. This isn't only happening in the States, lets look a incidents with Ryan Air in the EU. You reap what you price for, your Greyhound Bus comment wasn't that far off.

  32. Nora McLeod

    Perhaps Southwest is realizing the potential consequences of serving during flight outweigh the potential profit of selling the drinks. Eventually someone is going to sue because the person who attacked them was overserved (and, let's be real, even on Southwest it is easy enough to get six or eight drinks on a three hour flight, I know, I've done it), or sues because they were overserved and caused problems.

  33. DCharlie

    More flattering news from the USA!

    Ex-US airline pilot admits lewd act in cockpit mid-flight https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57294412

  34. CAB

    All airlines need air marshals again and the that will resolve problems. I don't fly because of all the rules and because I rather drive. Also buying drinks is to much money.

  35. Gary

    Why did the Leader of SWA Inflight department only make a statement AFTER TWU556 Local President make a statement to the media? Who is the real Leader? I say, TWU Local 556 President who represents the SWA Flight Attendants.

  36. Mark

    The solution is simple. Require proof of vaccination to fly and drop the mask mandate. Those refusing to be vaccinated have the freedom to choose another form of transportation. Problem solved and everyone is safer because nobody will be forced to unknowingly sit next to an anti-vaxxer.

    1. John S

      Exactly! Why aren’t the Airlines doing this? Being seated shoulder to shoulder with over a hundred (usually) people in a metal tube with recirculated air is a virus’s dream-come-true.

  37. David

    Raise prices so these low-lifes have to take the bus.

  38. Alonzo

    This is always going to be an issue, on ALL airlines. Delaying alcohol service is not going to solve the problem. Either stop alcohol service permanently or only offer on select routes.

  39. CHRIS

    How many of these poorly behaving passengers have been drunk.....from airline provided alcohol?.......Exactly. None. Maybe they can ban black people, or poor people, or people without a college degree etc.
    Maybe it can become a Mormon airline.....since alcohol is sin.

  40. Andre

    Alcohol obviously isn't the problem, but this seems like only a positive move for this airline. I don't know anyone who will choose not to fly Southwest because they don't serve alcohol. So the impact to the business is probably negligible if not positive because of the reduced weight of the alcohol on the plane. Anyone I know who abuses alcohol or is an alcoholic is bringing on their own minis anyway. For all those...

    Alcohol obviously isn't the problem, but this seems like only a positive move for this airline. I don't know anyone who will choose not to fly Southwest because they don't serve alcohol. So the impact to the business is probably negligible if not positive because of the reduced weight of the alcohol on the plane. Anyone I know who abuses alcohol or is an alcoholic is bringing on their own minis anyway. For all those saying, people will load up at the bar, great! There are many more resources available on the ground to handle people who are denied boarding because of intoxication than there are in the air if there is a problem.

  41. Kent

    As I said previously: 50+ years flying around the world and never observed air rage anywhere but within the U.S. Seems that we are great at giving birth to epidemics.

  42. D3kingg

    Alcohol is not the problem. People who can’t control themselves are. Nothing like cutting revenue to convince shareholders.

  43. David

    Why is everyone is so obsessed with drinking alcohol during flights. Give everyone a small bottle of red or white wine with the meal. Might even cut out the air rage!

  44. Chris

    As a flight attendant I can assure you alcohol adds to our problems. It never helps “relax” a situation. Your reporting fails to consider the alcohol people sneak on board, or drink in the airport before getting on our planes. It’s a much bigger part of the problem than you recognize in this story. Handing a jerk is one thing for us, but handling a jerk who’s uninhibited and making bad decisions because of alcohol...

    As a flight attendant I can assure you alcohol adds to our problems. It never helps “relax” a situation. Your reporting fails to consider the alcohol people sneak on board, or drink in the airport before getting on our planes. It’s a much bigger part of the problem than you recognize in this story. Handing a jerk is one thing for us, but handling a jerk who’s uninhibited and making bad decisions because of alcohol makes our aircraft dangerous to all of us. If someone can’t go a few hours without a drink, that’s where the problem starts. We are a transportation industry, not a bar.

  45. Eskimo

    I'm been waiting for a post about the Southwest FA loses two teeth.
    The elephant in the room is looking at JetBlue.

    I still stand firm about flight crew's having too much authority. I don’t condone any disruptive behavior. The the crew on both incidents does seem to operate professionally and within their authority. But this 2 incident draws 2 different reaction from the crew. There might be more to it but in plain...

    I'm been waiting for a post about the Southwest FA loses two teeth.
    The elephant in the room is looking at JetBlue.

    I still stand firm about flight crew's having too much authority. I don’t condone any disruptive behavior. The the crew on both incidents does seem to operate professionally and within their authority. But this 2 incident draws 2 different reaction from the crew. There might be more to it but in plain sight, this is it.

    The junkie on JetBlue was attacking passengers with feathers. The flight got diverted.
    The women on Southwest does not seem to be intoxicated, assaulted a flight crew. The flight continued to its destination.

    For the alcohol, I actually agree that people nowadays are more edgy. The best solution might be giving them a drink to calm down not taking drinks away.

  46. A

    Such a stupid decision. Air rage on SW has a lot more to do with the mask mandate and flying SW. I’m sure I’d be anxious if I had to worry about finding a seat and the only one available being next to the anti-masker. Just another excuse for FAs to refuse to do their job citing “safety” reasons.

    I already refuse to fly SW, so no harm to me.

  47. Grant

    @haz +1

    Great news for airport bars and airport bartenders! Good luck getting a seat at the bar!

    People will just get hammered at the airport.

    Also, unless “minis” are over 3.5 ounces, pax will just sneak a couple in their carry-on. Right?

    Also, what about the extended expiration date for all those blue WN drink coupons?

  48. Aaron

    This will probably just lead to people drinking in the terminals more, though many airports still don't have open bars and restaurants serving alcohol, so who knows what these people will do now. Buy alcohol and drink it at the gate right before boarding?

    "If someone can’t get by without booze for a couple of hours, I’d say they have a problem.
    And James – grow up – it’s not a muzzle. Don’t like it? Drive."

    Amen to that.

  49. John

    I've honestly been a little unimpressed with Southwest recently. The last FA on my flight was so patronizing and condescending when explaining the mask rules. Yes, we get it, it's mandated, but I don't need your philosophical and political commentary to go with it. The entire drink service never made any sense to me. Just hand me a glass of ice and a can of coke, no need to pour it and touch the glass...

    I've honestly been a little unimpressed with Southwest recently. The last FA on my flight was so patronizing and condescending when explaining the mask rules. Yes, we get it, it's mandated, but I don't need your philosophical and political commentary to go with it. The entire drink service never made any sense to me. Just hand me a glass of ice and a can of coke, no need to pour it and touch the glass and many other surfaces. I'm real curios about the economics of not offering alcohol. If the airlines can make money by not selling booze, then they have no incentive to bring it back. Just like the hotel lounges still being closed and the same prices for the room being charged.

  50. Matthew

    IMO: Establish a 1 drink policy during first-round beverage service. I think this will calm people that want to enjoy a drink while flying.

    This is not the problem, the frustration with COVID, masks, vaccines and adults acting like badly behaving children is.

  51. Dan

    I know an FA and they said people come on and the first thing they are asking for is alcohol - like they just have to have it which raises red flags everywhere that this person definitely doesn’t need it. He said though it’s just so much more common right now. I don’t know what it is but there definitely are more crazy people flying now than pre-Covid. I’m not against it on the flight...

    I know an FA and they said people come on and the first thing they are asking for is alcohol - like they just have to have it which raises red flags everywhere that this person definitely doesn’t need it. He said though it’s just so much more common right now. I don’t know what it is but there definitely are more crazy people flying now than pre-Covid. I’m not against it on the flight but I’m 100% for limited availability like one per hour for now (maybe not first class). Drinking on a plane is way more intoxicating than on ground level due to air pressurization and natural dehydration. All you have to do is turn on Twitter and you’ll see alcohol does not need to be brought on board right now. I don’t even understand the desire to drink at an airport or on an airplane. $9 for a tiny mini? Please.

  52. DaninMCI

    Alcohol isn't the problem, being drunk is the main problem with air rage. This goes back to before masks but now there is more tension with flying which is likely triggering power-hungry FA's, self-medicating passengers. Other contributing factors would be the lack of airside smoking locations in nearly all airports as well as fewer business travelers to influence normal travel behaviors and protocol. It sounds extreme but what really needs to happen is to breathalyze...

    Alcohol isn't the problem, being drunk is the main problem with air rage. This goes back to before masks but now there is more tension with flying which is likely triggering power-hungry FA's, self-medicating passengers. Other contributing factors would be the lack of airside smoking locations in nearly all airports as well as fewer business travelers to influence normal travel behaviors and protocol. It sounds extreme but what really needs to happen is to breathalyze passengers at the gates if they want to avoid alcohol-related incidents in the air.

  53. Max

    United states of Abuse.

    This country has become a total laughing stock.

  54. Jerry

    New airline motto - “The beatings will continue until morale improves!”

    1. Annabelle

      Absolutely correct. I have flown SWA multiple times since October and each time was a nightmare. What in the world has happened to SWA???? The flight attendants treated the passengers like garbage, like we are prisoners and they are our wardens. I was appalled and disgusted with their treatment and I believe THAT is why there have been so many incidents of late.

  55. haz

    I think this is just going to make things worse. Those that are more likely to cause a problem are now going to get more drunk in terminals.

  56. KC

    If someone can’t get by without booze for a couple of hours, I’d say they have a problem.
    And James - grow up - it’s not a muzzle. Don’t like it? Drive.

  57. view

    James: spot on. Due to mask discussions often being political and public opinion highly dividend, one would expect air rage to continue at a high rate in the US until mandate ends.

    1. PattyC Murphy

      What are you doing to solve in flight alcohol based attacks, than spouting bs, that having to wear a mask is so problematic.

  58. James

    When they stop requiring muzzles for passengers this aggression will decrease significantly. Mark my words.

  59. Billy Bunter

    It always amazes me the importance people place on being able to obtain alcohol on flights, particularly shorter domestic flights. The quicker Marijuana is normalized to the level alcohol is, the better. Hand out some edibles with the alcohol...problem solved!

  60. Brant

    I dated a flight attendant for several years and she reports that alcoholic beverages are more likely to calm an inflight incident than inflame it. Offering free drinks to a disruptive passenger may seem counterintuitive at first blanch, but with the proper motivation, most people can be persuaded to comply.

  61. Jeff

    Although I am disappointed in this decision, it is completely understandable. Alcohol will most definitely compound the problem. Not sure what the solution is - perhaps in time people will not be so stressed out and things can return to a more normal. My guess is that once the mask mandate is removed from airports/planes, they will resume alcohol service.

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S.B.

I completely agree, and thank you for saying this. As a phobic flier, it's extremely hard for me to get on a plane at all. I do it anyways but normally with a drink or two. Given this decision, I will not fly with Southwest until they resume alcohol service. I know so many people who are in the same situation as me: the reason people drink when they fly isn't because airplanes are great party spots. It is generally because a certain % of the population is legitimately scared of flying, and literally nothing helps quite as well, quickly, and safely as a responsible drink on board. Turbulence, likewise. The travel industry actually may not realize how many people will not fly unless they know they can have a drink due to flying phobia, which is incredibly common, and for some, it's not fear of planes but some related condition, like fear of heights, claustrophobia, and so on. And if it alcohol-induced flight rage really a problem, we wouldn't see liquor served in first class but not in economy on so many airlines -- that suggests only less well-off people suffer "air rage" and is really ugly in its Classism. Plus, they would have stopped years ago. So I just am not buying this story. At all.

Mark

The solution is simple. Require proof of vaccination to fly and drop the mask mandate. Those refusing to be vaccinated have the freedom to choose another form of transportation. Problem solved and everyone is safer because nobody will be forced to unknowingly sit next to an anti-vaxxer.

Chris

As a flight attendant I can assure you alcohol adds to our problems. It never helps “relax” a situation. Your reporting fails to consider the alcohol people sneak on board, or drink in the airport before getting on our planes. It’s a much bigger part of the problem than you recognize in this story. Handing a jerk is one thing for us, but handling a jerk who’s uninhibited and making bad decisions because of alcohol makes our aircraft dangerous to all of us. If someone can’t go a few hours without a drink, that’s where the problem starts. We are a transportation industry, not a bar.

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